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The New Margoria Expansion is a Refreshing Change of Pace

Adam Pipich Posted:
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Players of Black Desert Online have been patiently awaiting the game’s ocean expansion since its release in the Korean version roughly half a year ago. Promising a much needed break from the daily slog of smacking monsters to progress, Margoria introduces several brand new styles of gameplay ranging from underwater exploration to naval battles. I took a dive (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun) into the new content provided and actually found it to be quite enjoyable.

To be honest, I typically dislike naval games. It’s just not my cup of tea. So as you can imagine, when I first heard about Margoria’s release in KR I wasn’t super excited. At the time, I was mostly still reveling in the then newly released desert, and I only ever briefly discussed the ocean content with my guild mates. As time went on though, I grew more and more interested in the idea of something entirely new coming to the BDO world. The routine of grinding mobs and participating in node wars is fun and all, but I couldn’t help feeling that I wanted a little bit more from the game. I needed something else to do when I was burnt out of my usual day-to-day. By the time Margoria launched for NA, I was entirely ready to take on whatever the ocean had to throw at me.

One of the biggest appeals of the expansion was its promise of exciting naval combat against sea creatures, pirates, and other players. The new boats have cannons attached to them just for this, 2 for the personal trade ship and 8 for the guild galley. Unfortunately, these ships take a significant amount of time to produce. Instead of embarking immediately upon entering the game, I had queued up workers for the guild ship and decided to avoid the ocean until I had access to the much stronger boat. I didn’t do a very good job of waiting though. It wasn’t long until my guild accepted one of the newly added guild quests, requiring us to catch a fish only found deep into the ocean. Equipped with nothing but a dinky, unbearably slow boat, a few of my guild mates and I decided to head out in search of the new fish.

It feels like a real ocean, absolutely huge with nothing in sight for miles.

It was immediately apparent that we had made a very bad decision going out unprepared. We had to spend most of our time dodging around sea monsters and pirate ships trying to prevent our helpless little boat from being destroyed. Contrary to what the image above shows, the enemies in the ocean are actually quite dense, leaving very little downtime between encounters. It was so bad in certain parts that we actually feared we were going to be stranded without any means of returning to the mainland. Although, after some searching, our poor boat did safely get us to where we needed to be. Once we completed the fishing we swam back to the boat, turned around, and repeated the terrifying process back to shore. It was absolutely thrilling, and I loved the feeling that the game just didn’t care that I may be inconvenienced due to my recklessness. It was an experience I don’t see quite often in MMOs.

A couple days later we finished production on our guild boat, and immediately decided to make another attempt at conquering some of the enemies that threatened our previous journey. We loaded up as many cannon balls as we could, recruited a sizeable party of guild members, and set off for an exciting little adventure.

Shooting cannons at a Margoria Ghost Ship, a special enemy that seizes control of your boat.

Simply put, we had an absolute blast. With a spotter positioned in the crow’s nest at the top of the boat’s mast, we cautiously progressed north through the ocean. For the weaker enemies we encountered, we opted to charge head first into a fight, letting our now beefed up vessel take the brunt of the attacks. However, the other, stronger enemies proved to be more difficult. These opponents forced us to either attempt to evade their attacks, or simply outright keep our distance as to not anger them. The galley may be strong, but we still hadn’t upgraded its equipment enough to be able to deal with everything the ocean had to offer. This level of difficulty made the fights exciting, and the teamwork involved in effectively operating one of these boats makes these battles so much more interesting. The driver, spotter, cannoneers, and DPS all have to work together to ensure that everyone involved won’t have to spend a decent chunk of time trying to figure out how to get back to the mainland without a boat. As I’ve said before, the enemies are abundant. You won’t ever be stuck trying to find a fight. It even got quite hectic for us during a few encounters, typically due to an inopportune Ghost Ship appearing next to us, locking up our captain's controls so we can’t dodge attacks from whatever we were previously engaging.

Arriving at Port Ratt, a bit scratched up but thankfully in one piece.

After a couple hours of fighting our way north, we finally ended up at Margoria’s main destination, Port Ratt. Unfortunately, this is where the expansion falls flat. There is absolutely nothing to do here other than a few fetch quests that can be finished in a fairly short amount of time. Granted, those quests do have you visiting a few beautiful underwater vistas in various locations around the sea, but there’s actually nothing else to do here, it’s just empty. Everything is empty. You can’t even begin to walk into the seemingly quaint port town without hitting an obnoxious invisible wall. Being immediately bored with only being able to access the docks, we decided to check out a few of the surrounding islands. While they did have quite grandeur terrain, they too were devoid of any content.

I think it’s safe to assume that the developer’s intent here is to expand on this area in the distant future, yet I can’t help but feel frustrated that I’m only looking at the framework for a proper expansion that we may never even see. It just isn’t satisfying by any means, and I can’t get over how unfinished it feels. Even though my guild mates and I knew what to expect coming here, it was still incredibly disappointing for all of us. It seems that Margoria takes the saying ‘the journey is more important than the destination’ to an absolute extreme. Well, at least our travels back to the mainland are going to be fun.

Fighting one of Margoria’s easier enemies, a medium pirate ship.

I’ve heard a lot of criticisms that Margoria adds nothing meaningful to the game, and I actually, fully agree. It doesn’t. This expansion won’t have any effect on how people enjoy BDO, and it certainly won’t change anyone’s opinions on the game. But you know what? That’s fine. Not every new piece of content in an MMO has to further push back the end game or add to player progression. Despite all of its criticisms, I still think Margoria has a place in the Black Desert world. Have you ever just needed to step away from what you’re doing, just relax and have some fun? That’s exactly what Margoria is. It’s Black Desert’s coffee break. One big, beautiful, intense coffee break, and that’s perfectly okay.


Adam Pipich

Adam is the resident Black Desert Online writer here at MMORPG.com.